Being successful in an exam is down to a complex web of factors that go beyond simply knowing the material you will be tested on. The latter is, of course, a huge part of it. But being prepared mentally – confidence, motivation, reduced anxiety – plays a huge role, too.
In the next few months, teachers will be central to helping pupils in all of these areas, so we have brought together six podcasts that can help you do just that. They cover not just revision and memory, but also mental health, screen time, neuroscience and metacognition.
1. Revision: what works best
Professor John Dunlosky is one of the world’s leading researchers into effective study habits; here, he outlines what works best for learning content, as well as what pupils tend to think works, but doesn't.
2. Inside the teenage brain: what you need to know
Key to helping pupils prepare for their exams is knowing what is going on inside their heads – and professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore can give you that insight. In this podcast, she explains why teenagers take risks and behave as they do, and suggests that giving teens this information can help them hugely.
3. What you need to know about memory
Professor Robert and Elizabeth Bjork have spent their careers looking at how memory works. Here, they give you and your pupils some tips and ideas about what to do to make learning stick.
4. Does screen time really lead to disastrous exam results?
Parents and teachers alike fear that screen addiction can derail efforts to secure good GCSEs. Is there any evidence to suggest that such a worry is warranted? Professor Andrew Przybylski gives you and your pupils the information they need. Spoiler: it’s not as bad as you probably think.
5. Is anxiety at an epidemic level among teens and do exams exacerbate problems?
Professor Tamsin Ford has published, along with her co-researchers, the most comprehensive study of adolescent mental health among UK teens in the world. Here, she details how prevalent mental health challenges are in this age group; what teachers need to know about spotting serious concerns; and the relationship between school and mental health.
6. Why we need to focus on metacognition
Teacher, author and senior associate at the Education Endowment Foundation, Alex Quigley, tells you why metacognition is so crucial to exam success, and what you and your pupils need to know about it.
You can find all of these podcasts through your podcast platform. Just search for 'Tes – the education podcast'